By Nihal Zaroug.
Tripoli, 25 June 2013:
Six members of the . . .[restrict]Libyan Zawia Martyrs Brigade manning the Khasum Al-Khail checkpoint south of the town of Sirte, have died after being ambushed by unidentified gunman early this morning.
The leader of the brigade, Colonel Salah Abukhaliqah, is reported by the Libyens news portal as stating that the bodies had been mutilated post-mortem and that the perpetrators were “bearded”. The colonel disclosed that three military vehicles were also burned. Investigations are underway by the military prosecutor and a search of the surrounding area for the attackers was mounted immediately, said the colonel.
The attack, which occurred at dawn, has claimed the lives of Mouftah Ali, Ali Milad, Suleiman Albulaazi, Abubaker Mousa, Salah Al Sharidi, Salem Saddek, as reported by both Libyens and Press Solidarity news agency.
Earlier this month, Abukhaliqah had denied reports that his brigade had attacked members of the Sixth Infantry Battalion of the Libyan Shield passing through Kira at the Brak checkpoint, guarded by his men. The attack led to the eventual death of the head of the battalion, Colonel Salah Omar, and at least two others.
In an interview with Xinhua news agency, Abukhaliqah claims that after passing through the checkpoint, the convoy was ambushed and four men were wounded. Abukhaliqah says his men were part of the rescue efforts and not the attackers.
The convoy was ferrying military vehicles to Sebha after receiving them from the Ministry of Defence in Tripoli. At the Brak checkpoint, the convoy was delayed and documentation was requested by the Zawia Martyrs brigade, which is believed to have caused an angry stand-off between the two sides.
The attack and the government’s silence was condemned by Sheikh Sadeg Al-Ghariani.
With input from Ayman Amzeid